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Apr. 9, 2014 9:15 am

Open Data Policy for Maryland signed into law

It is now official state policy that state government data "be machine-readable and released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible and usable."

Sen. Bill Ferguson during a campaign kickoff at the Creative Alliance earlier this month. Photo Credit: Megan E.T. Schmitz – Elizabeth Taylor Photography.

As of today, all state government data in Maryland must be public and machine-readable — easily parsed into spreadsheet format, or something other than a PDF.

Signed into law at the close of the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly was the state senate’s version of an Open Data Policy that stands to be the “first formalized step towards an open data regime,” as state Sen. Bill Ferguson, who introduced the Open Data Policy, told Technical.ly Baltimore in January.

Read Technical.ly Baltimore’s Q&A with Ferguson.

While only a step in the right direction, the Open Data Policy has been championed by open data advocates in the state and is a measure that was sorely needed. In 2013, Maryland was ranked 46th in the U.S. when it came to public access to information.

Included in the Open Data Policy legislation is a provision for a Council on Open Data, which is the 37-member group given the task of promoting that state government data “be machine-readable and released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible and usable, including through the use of open data portals.” Maryland launched its statewide open data portal in May 2013.

Read the text of the Open Data Policy -30-
Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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